Here are some links to check out before the NLCS kicks off later this afternoon..
- Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel points out that the somewhat low payrolls of the remaining playoff teams are examples of the importance of drafting, scouting, and player development. The Tigers have the largest payroll (10th), while the Cardinals (11th), Rangers (13th), and Brewers (17th) round out the pack. It's also worth noting that the Diamondbacks rank 25th and the Rays were 29th.
- The progress of center fielder Jon Jay allowed the Cardinals to trade Colby Rasmus at the deadline, GM John Mozeliak told Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski, and Octavio Dotel have been key parts of the team's drive to the NLCS.
- Some people think that C.J. Wilson has keen interest as a free agent in New York, tweets Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated. He adds that the Yankees are probably the early favorite to sign him.
- A Lakeview, Illinois resident is "99.9 percent sure" that he saw Red Sox GM Theo Epstein at a Starbucks in Lincoln Park, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Boston ownership has yet to acknowledge a report that the Cubs have asked for permission to talk to Epstein.
- The Angels continued their front-office purge by not renewing the contract of player development director Abe Flores, a major league source told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. Flores spent four seasons as the team's player development director after spending the previous six as the team's manager of baseball operations.
- No matter what kind of career pitcher Pedro Strop has, the trade for left-hander Mike Gonzalez at the August deadline was worth it for the Rangers, writes Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com.